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Bullet-Proof Your Snipe Account!

posted: May 28 2009

Bullet-Proof Your Snipe Account

20 Ways You Can Miss an eBay Snipe!

Hopefully you are not reading this article because you were "slammed," or outbid on an item that you really wanted. If so, we can help. In this article, we will discuss 20 ways that you can lose an important item because your eBay account is not set up properly!

We are going to bulletproof your BidSlammer account so that you can significantly reduce your chances of missing out on an item that you want. Even if you are an eBay guru, you will learn something important, as most of the reasons are not trivial.

Remember, when you snipe, you are "bidding blind" -- and you will not know what the problem is, if any, until the bid is actually placed and it's too late. Notice we say "outbid," not "missed." You are not missing the snipe since it is placed on time. Instead, you are being outbid or blocked for a variety of reasons.
If you experience a situation where you receive an unusual error message, we invite you to post it here. Stay current by subscribing to the thread. These actions will help us refine our product, eliminate errors, and keep up with the ever-changing world of eBay!
Ok, let's get started bulletproofing. Here are the 20 ways you might have missed that snipe!

Reason 1. You did not meet the minimum bid increment.

The high bid does NOT always win! Even long-term eBay-ers have to be reminded about the minimum bid increment.

The minimum bid increment is an amount of money that eBay adds on top of the current price to keep things interesting, that is, to make sure that the price of the item escalates proportionally. The increment is proportional to the Current Price.

Missing the minimum bid increment is the number one reason for a misunderstanding. ?In this situation, the snipe is placed on time and the amount of the bid is greater than the current price, however the customer does not win the item because he or she did not meet the minimum bid increment.

In fact, when you snipe a competitive item, make sure that you add enough money to account for several bid increments. A good sniper will memorize the bid increment table for her country!

For more information on the subject of minimum bid increments, see our really cool help page.

Reason 2. Your eBay password needs improvement.

If your eBay password is any English word or proper noun, like your name or user ID, followed by a number, such as "JOSH77", then you MUST change it immediately at eBay. eBay may occasionally throw up a random warning page indicating that your password may be susceptible to fraud, and so on. Our policy is to honor the warnings by not executing the snipe. We believe this policy keeps you out of trouble.

To avoid this problem, make sure you use a non-trivial password at eBay.

Reason 3. You forgot to link your PayPal e-mail address to your eBay account.

Sellers can block unwanted bidders. Every serious sniper will link their PayPal accounts to eBay. Otherwise, your sniper will result in this error page.

To configure this, just go to: My eBay --> Account tab --> Seller Account -> [Edit].

Please note that we never know why you are blocked. It is up to you to determine this, as it is a personal matter between you and the seller.

Reason 4. You forgot to confirm your primary PayPal address.

It's very easy to confirm your address at PayPal. Just go to your PayPal account, and click on your link by your account balance. Then follow the steps to verify your account.

Reason 5. You asked the seller a question that made them nervous.

You will know your seller blocked you personally, when you receive the error message, "unfortunately, this seller has decided that you are not permitted to bid on their listings."

It is only natural for a seller to block you if you ask questions like "Does this support Macintosh?" Said one seller, "If the buyer is reliant on me for basic information about the product, they will distract me from future sales should the problem continue." Makes sense, doesn't it?

Reason 6. You upset your seller on a previous transaction.

If your complaint is: "There is no way I was blocked from this transaction! I have bought from the seller previously! For us, that's the clincher: Most likely, something you said in the last transaction concerned the seller. They usually won't admit to it, to avoid conflict. But you can confirm the problem on your own easily enough, by attempting to bid on another one of the seller's items.

Reason 7. You had more than 2 Unpaid Item Strikes in one year.

You can be blocked for having 2 Unpaid Item Strikes in 12 months, so keep a clean record.

Reason 8. You violated one or more eBay policies.

You can be blocked for having 2 or more policy violations in one year such as listing an item in the wrong category. There are buyer-type and seller-type violations and they both count against you when you are sniping, so be warned.

Reason 9. You are registered in a country to which the seller doesn't ship.

Again, read your item description. Not everyone ships to your country. We see lots of bid losses for this reason. Sniping is not a substitute for reading the item page!

Reason 10. You used a PayPal security key.

You definitely must turn off your PayPal security key if you are going to snipe, since it uses Captcha. Captcha is the sniping equivalent of a bulletproof vest, nothing can get through. So that if you are using this, make sure to disable it for sniping.

Reason 11. You made a wimpy bid on a reserve auction.

This is actually a very interesting topic. A lot of snipers ask us if we can add a feature to beat the reserve price no matter what. This is called climbing the reserve. We choose not to implement the service for the following reason.

Let's say you are bidding on a car on eBay motors, and the seller has jacked up the reserve price so high such that he obviously does not intend to sell the car. Then when you lose the auction as the high bidder, he writes you and says "Hey, sorry you didn't win, but contact us to make a deal!" Arg. Lucky you didn't place an "infinite snipe" or you would probably be sorry.

So in short, trust us: You definitely do not want a feature to climb the reserve. Just use the good old basic rule: Bid the maximum you are willing to pay.

Reason 12. You forgot to check for proxy bids.

If you see a very rare and popular item worth $1000, and its current price is $10, don't be tricked into thinking a bid of $100 or even $500, will even show up on the bid history list at the time of your snipe.

A surprising number of bidders forget about proxy bids. A proxy bid means that regardless of what amount you specify on an auction to bid, eBay will only raise the cost of the item the smallest amount necessary to justify their minimum bid increment.

Even if there is only one other bidder (besides you) on the auction, that other buyer could have placed a massive proxy bid of $1500 or more on the item.  In that case, your snipe would execute for $1000; eBay would then set the current price to $1000, requiring a bid of $1025 to win. So the other bidder would win for $1025.

Reason 13. Your feedback rating is too low.

Sellers can specify a feedback rating threshold to ignore your bid if your account has low feedback. If a seller bothers to set this, it is usually set at 5 or 10.

Reason 14. You bid on an item that was no longer available.

Every so often, a seller takes down the item you wanted to snipe. They can take the item down for any one of four reasons, some of which would have given you the right to purchase the item at the Current Bid price.

However, this would not apply to you, since you had not actually have a bid on the item when it was canceled.

Reason 15. You bid full price on a Buy-It-Now.

EBay rejects your bid if you bid full price on a Buy-It-Now listing, expecting you to choose the BUY NOW option, not the PLACE BID option. We use the PLACE BID option.

To get around this, place a very small bid on the Buy-It-Now listing manually in order to remove the Buy-It-Now status and change the listing to a regular auction.

Reason 16. You overbid on a Buy-It-Now.

This is the same explanation is reason 15, but a totally different scenario. And eBay gives a totally different error message.

Reason 17. You tried to snipe an Immediate Payment listing.

You can't snipe these items since you have to pay right when you bid.

Reason 18. You didn't have a credit card on file with eBay.

eBay does not require credit cards for buyer accounts, but sellers can opt to block you if you don't have them.

Reason 19. You bid on an item with country-based export regulations.

Read your item description carefully.

Reason 20. You bid too low.

We saved the most obvious reason for last. Make sure you bid aggressively, to overcome several bid increments.

Thank You for Reading!

Please report any new information you have to this blog or in our Community Forum.

Copyright (c) 2009 BidSlammer, Inc.


BidSlammer Sniping Service Comments

i just want to say "great job"... thx!

srdha   May 29 02:57AM

Hi, a good read, well-researched, lots of useful bidding info, thanks very much.

bidcheeper   Jun 07 12:26AM

I want to find good pop music. Help me please.

Kalebarkab   Jun 10 01:43AM

I agree, rather helpful sniping tips.

kristinavoj   Jun 04 09:33PM

Hi, thanks for the useful and interesting info.

Ordidadedsids   Jun 05 06:37AM

I wanted to contact you guys about being charged for some snipes for auctions I did not win, but that are showing as won within bidslammer (eg: item #320369794768). I went to the forum to try and contact you, but it does not work for me on Internet Explorer. I'm quite happy with this service and have been using it for years now.

craigbolland   Jun 03 03:57AM

I want to point out one other way I have lost auctions with Bidslammer. If an item has a recall notice, an extra screen requiring a confirmation will pop up before the bid can be placed, thus thwarting the computer. I don't know if this has been fixed.

Scott   Jun 10 10:19AM

Hey Scott, Thanks for mentioning this. This is a tough issue. In fact there are many ways that eBay may occasionally throw up a random warning page. We used to honor these, but we would get in trouble since sometimes the warning is something really important, such as (like you said) a product recall notice for a particular country. Or it could be a fraud notice. We found that if we gave a checkbox "Always override warnings", everyone would just check it and leave themselves really vulnerable. So: Our policy is to honor the warnings by not executing the snipe. We believe this policy keeps you out of trouble. However, we are going to seriously consider allowing the recall notices, after seeing your post. Feel free to open a discussion on our forum about this, I'd like to hear input from other users. - J.

admin   Jun 10 12:08PM

Thanks, I snipe Internationally a lot, and this post explained a lot of problems I was having... many thanks.

speasyday   Jun 13 08:53AM

I get blocked all the time, so please keep us updated! Thank you.

JaneRadriges   Jun 13 11:08AM

Looking forward to more articles.

mikesmoney9984   Jun 18 02:57AM

Hi @rembrandt, we are sorry you missed an item. I checked these auctions - these auctions can't go in a bid group because the ending times are too close together. You see, snipes have a lead time of about 2-3 minutes, to make sure there are no delays. There is a little icon next to the SUBMIT button that has a link to the disclaimer. Note - our software always prevents you from being able to add snipes too close together. I feel we should catch that problem so you never even have to worry about it.

jay   May 28 03:17AM